A group at the Te Aro Pah by George Angas

A group at the Te Aro Pah, Port Nicholson. Ware. Aitu. Ko Repu. A lithograph by George French Angas published in The New Zealanders illustrated, Thomas McLean, London, 1847.

George French Angas (1822–86) visited New Zealand for several months in 1844. During this time he produced a number of drawings and watercolours of Māori clothing, artefacts, dwellings and customs. He also painted portraits of prominent Māori figures.

His interest in ethnography and natural history, combined with his artistic ability, produced a valuable record of the Māori way of life. While concerned with accuracy and attention to detail, he was also influenced by the prevailing fashion for the sentimental and picturesque.

In his book The New Zealanders illustrated, Angas Europeanised Māori features and reduced his subjects to stereotypes. Māori were commonly portrayed as the friendly, cute and exotic inhabitants of a country that was changing rapidly through contact with European civilisation. His figures were clothes-horses for an array of cloaks and artefacts. He presented the women and children especially as doe-eyed, naive creatures.

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